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Are Freedom of Information requests submitted to Westminster making some French guys drunk?

July 29, 2009

The law is the law, and every single public body based in the United Kingdom has a legal obligation to answer all Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted to them within twenty working days following their receipt. This includes Westminster City Council, who seem to have ignored the law over the past few months. Have a look at this website and see for yourself how incompetent Westminster City Council have been in answering their FOI requests. A large number of them have been answered late, or are still not answered at all at the time of writing, and this website only includes a sample of FOI requests submitted to the Council, as many people keep putting in more FOI requests directly via the Council’s website.

Anyway, as French nationals resident in the United Kingdom, we absolutely love FOI requests. There is no such wonderful piece of law in France, and we think the UK’s FOI system is just brilliant. We love it as much as we love cheese and wine (needless to say of course that we have made extensive use of this facility to address all the questions that Westminster Conservative Councillors have failed to answer in our various letters and emails).

Take another look at this website and notice that a very large number of FOIs are motorcycle parking related. Every time there is a new FOI request related to bike parking in Westminster, the originator makes our day, i.e. we are so excited that we feel the need to go to the pub and celebrate in the English way, which is to get pissed of joy!

It is as good (or bad) as this, yes it is indeed! Since the bike parking tax in Westminster has been introduced and the number of FOI requests related to it has dramatically increased, we have had all sorts of opportunities to taste many beers of all kind. Since we are not in France, we thought we would leave our lovely and tasty wine back at home, and drink that yellow liquid instead, in the same way as you guys do so much (and no, we are not saying the Brits are alcoholics, we love them far too much to say this).

So why do we think the number of FOI requests submitted to Westminster City Council have dramatically increased in the past few months? Well, we reckon it’s the result of our lovely Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley, who introduced the bike parking tax. He and his team have ignored the views and opinions of thousands of people, who have taken the time and trouble to write letters and emails to object to the bike parking tax, who have dedicated a substantial amount of their free time to demonstrate in the streets of Central London against the bike parking tax, who have made the choice to use motorbikes and scooters as a mode of transport to cut road congestion and air pollution and, finally, who are being forced to pay a tax for no valid reason.

At least, we now know that some of our precious money is used to serve us, the motorcyclist community. We have found out that Westminster City Council have recruited additional staff to handle the increasing number of FOI requests. And yes we, motorcyclists, are paying for this recruitment, but at least we can have the impression of doing something right, that is to give some people a job in the middle of an economic downturn, unlike Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley who has been filling up Westminster Council’s coffers during the same economic downturn, while some of us are working very hard to keep our jobs and feed our families.

Oh, we were almost going to forget to say that we’ve just had another yellow drink to celebrate our victory in making Westminster to contribute to the reduction of the UK unemployment rate in the past week or so. After all, this bike parking tax has had some benefits, until it is scrapped as a result of the No To Bike Parking Tax campaign taking Westminster City Council to court with the services of Oliver Mishcon, a highly qualified and experienced Barrister. Watch this space!


Please join and support the campaign to get the bike parking tax in Westminster scrapped before it spreads all over the UK and the European Union. The next demonstration is on 16th August 2009, don’t miss it! Visit

Soutenez et participez a la campagne dont la mission est de forcer la mairie de Westminster a supprimer la taxe de stationnement des deux-roues avant que le concept ne se propage a travers le Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. La prochaine manifestation est prevue pour le 16 aout 2009, ne la manquez pas! Consultez


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